*Things to Come* (spoilers for an old movie in this post)

This Alexander Korda adaption of H.G. Wells was in 1936 perhaps the most visually spectacular movie of its time.  It looks like the first thirty, black and white minutes of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, yet few people watch the movie today, in part because the actors shout at each other.

A world war starts in 1940 and lasts through the 1970s, fought with barbed wire and Art Deco tanks.  A pandemic wipes out half the human race.  Technology shuts down and for a while airplanes are a rarity.  Afterwards, a highly productive reign of science is established, enforced by air power ("Wings Over the World").  It is centered in Basra, Iraq and we see bombers and drones from Iraq take over England, enforcing a "brotherhood of efficiency, and a freemasonry of science."  There is no talk of ethics.  Eventually the world comes to resemble a Westin atrium and lobby.  Life expectancy goes up, but for hairstylists a cost disease still operates.  In 2036 they are facing not a Medicare cost crisis but rather preparing the first trip to the moon.

It is noted that man is "conquering nature" and creating a "white world" and no one seems to flinch; Wells favored eugenics.  Everyone becomes increasingly bug-eyed and a Luddite rebellion arises, although it seems to be barked down at the end of the movie.

The distinction between "a good movie" and "a movie which is good to watch" has never been more salient.

Things to Come is on Amazon here and on Wikipedia here.  Some stills and commentary are here.  Here is an NYT review from 1936: "probably as solid a prophecy as any."



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